Tuesday, December 6

My Frugal Miser - November Expenses: $6,301


November was a very expensive month, but a large part of the spending went towards pre-paying future spending.  I bought a $1,500 Amazon gift card (household expenses) to take advantage of the 5% cash back on my Discover card.  I also spent $600 on Lowe's gift cards, $200 on a Netflix gift card and $200 on a Groupon gift card.  These earned me free gas through the Shell Fuel Rewards program.  I was able to immediately convert $4,000 in Carnival gift cards to cash, so those don't show up in my spending, but they earned me a significant amount of free gas.  Another $100 of the food category was for two additional gift cards.  Black Friday has become a great day to "pre-pay" for future spending in the form of gift cards.  Another large prepaid expense was the $220 I spent for Bruno Mars tickets.  The concert isn't until next October.

A couple other categories were also unusually high.  I paid $886 for property taxes on my house.  I paid $166 for a red light camera ticket.  My utilities expense was on the high side, too.  The water bill only comes every two months and was particularly high this time.  It's been very dry and our tropical garden requires heavy watering.

November Expenses:  $6,301

$1,357 Auto ($13 gas, $46 repairs/maintenance, $621 depreciation, $166 fines, $511 insurance)
$0 Bank Fees
$0 Clothing
$0 Computer
$439 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$540 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$2,145 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$52 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expense
$390 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$17 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$886 Taxes
$29 Sharing Economy Expenses (dedicated phone, tolls, car washes, etc.)
$375 Utilities
$72 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In November, I paid $376 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Saturday, December 3

My Frugal Miser - November Income: $12,331


November was a great income month.

For rental income, all but one property received rent.  The empty house has now been rented, but one of the townhouses is becoming vacant, so I expect rental income in December to be similar to last month.

Amazon Flex income was down a bit because I traveled to Dallas to work a conference and worked several days in Orlando for a second conference.  Also, we were on a cruise the last week of the month.

I closed out my position in Sea World for a slight gain.  The company has eliminated its dividend, which was the reason I bought the stock in the first place.

November Income: $12,331

$1,949 Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$9 Uber
$106 Lyft
$280 Postmates
$3,049 Amazon Deliveries
$5,186 Rental Income
$16 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$1,418 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$317 Other Sources

Notes:  
  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work. 

Thursday, November 3

My Frugal Miser - October Expenses: $3,323


October was reasonable for personal expenses.  Nearly half of the expenses I reported are non-cash depreciation of my 2015 Hyundai Sonata.  I expense $.24/mile driven until I have completely expensed the cost of the car.  Making deliveries for Amazon puts a lot of miles on my car.

I continued to benefit from the Shell Fuel Rewards cards I purchased on Groupon.  I will most likely burn through the remaining balance in November and then my gas expense will go up.

Food was also on the high side.  Amazon had a fall clearance sale and I stocked up on quite a few things.  We also had a couple of expensive restaurant meals to celebrate my partner's birthday.

October Expenses:  $3,323

$2,060 Auto ($13 gas, $288 repairs/maintenance, $1,412 depreciation, $136 AAA dues, $211 fines)
$0 Bank Fees
$75 Clothing
$0 Computer
$168 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$388 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$0 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$52 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expense
$264 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$3 Personal Care
$13 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$135 Sharing Economy Expenses (dedicated phone, tolls, car washes, etc.)
$167 Utilities
$0 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In October, I paid $194 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Tuesday, November 1

My Frugal Miser - October Income: $10,077


October was another stellar month, even though rental income is down.

I earned a significant amount from making deliveries for Amazon.  I average close to $30/hour (gross, before expenses) and my goal is to work 40 hours per week.  I added Postmates to my sharing economy portfolio.  In October I received payment for my first two jobs.  Postmates pays very little unless the customer gives you a tip.

Rental income is still down, as one property is vacant.  I lowered the asking rent on that property so hopefully this will generate some interest.  I managed to rent the condo already, so it was vacant less than one month.

October Income $10,077

($11) Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$104 Uber
$25 Lyft
$7 Postmates
$4,796 Amazon Deliveries
$4,868 Rental Income
$263 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$0 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$24 Other Sources

Notes:  
  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work.